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Dr. Hopland no longer in quarantine, should be home Sunday night

John Thompson • Updated Mar 4, 2020 at 9:10 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Dr. Arnold Hopland was in great spirits spirits Wednesday. After spending more than a month in quarantine for the coronavirus, the Japanese government allowed him to leave the dormitory room at the National Tax College and move to a hotel.

Hopland was able to do some shopping for clothes and other items he needs for his return trip to the United States and he was able to once again enjoy being with people.

“Yes, it is great to be out,” said Hopland, a physician from Elizabethton who became part of the quarantine of all the passengers and crew on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship when the coronavirus broke out on the ship while it was docked in Yokohama, Japan. Although Hopland never became sick, the fact that he had likely come in contact with others who had the disease caused him to endure a quarantine that lasted almost exactly a month.

His wife, Jeanie, tested positive for the coronavirus and the couple were separated for a few weeks while she was placed in a Tokyo hospital. On Sunday, she was tested and found to be free of the disease and was allowed to fly back to the Tri-Cities this week.

Hopland said he will soon be following his wife across the Pacific Ocean. Although he is no longer quarantined, he said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has to complete the process to get his name removed from the restricted flight list. Hopland said he hopes to fly home on Sunday. He is staying at the Radisson Hotel in Narita.

Although plans cannot be finalized until his name is off the restricted fly list, Hopland said the tentative plans are for him to fly out of Narita on Sunday. His plane will land in Dallas-Fort Worth, where he will go through customs. He will then continue on to Tri-Cities on the same route taken last Sunday by Mrs. Hopland. He said the plans are for him to arrive in Tri-Cities around midnight on Sunday.

“I will be crossing the International Date Line, so I will be getting on the plane and getting off on Sunday,” he said.

In the meantime, Hopland is enjoying his freedom from quarantine and the hospitality of the Japanese government. He said the Japanese enabled him to get more clothes and items he needed because his luggage had already been forwarded to the United States.

Hopland said he is also continuing to write his book on his experiences with the government response to the coronavirus outbreak.

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